For the past few weeks, Elder Ruvalcaba and I have been preparing an activity for the ward. We decided to use the fact that Elder Ruvalcaba is from Mexico and have a Taco Night. We made a flier to hand out that said that the cost of entrance to the activity was to bring a friend. We didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into. We predicted that about 100 people would come to the activity, and started to buy the necessary taco ingredients. We bought 20 kilos of ground meat, a ton of flour to make tortillas, rice and cinnamon to make horchata, and all that we were missing were the vegetables. We were talking to the bishop about the activity and told him they we were about to go to a market to buy all the vegetables. He got really excited and told us, "No! Elders, we have to go to the Marcado Central if we are going to but lots of vegetables! It is much cheaper!" So on Saturday morning we went to "Mercado Central" to buy the vegetables. Never knew that buying vegetables could be so sweet or so illegal. The bishop took us in his car to buy the vegetables. I thought we would be going around the block, but he just kept on driving and driving until we were on a highway in the middle of nowhere. We eventually came up to a giant warehouse that looked like a deserted aircraft hanger. I was curious where we were, but didn't want to look stupid or innocent by asking where we were. We drove around the back of the warehouse and walked up to a tiny door. The Bishop knocked on the door and a little slit opened up in the door and a pair of eyes looked out at us, and then shut really fast. (Yep, medevil peephole style.) And the door opened. It was crazy inside. There were tons and tons of people (all shouting), and stacks and stacks and stacks of all kinds of vegetables everywhere. The bishop ushered me in a whispered, "Welcome to the black market of vegetables." In Argentina, the government controls all the prices of all goods, so they never get too expensive or too cheap. Right now, vegetables should be really cheap, but the government keeps the prices high. This aircraft hanger in the middle of nowhere full of shouting people and onions is the place where people sell their vegetables below government prices. Its pretty much like an auction, and the people shout out how much they want to pay for a kilo of whatever kind of vegetable and the vendor accepts or denies. Sweet, right? So we shopped around and bought a whole bunch of illegal vegetables with the bishop. It was sweet. I am spending too much time on this subject, but I thought it was the best thing ever.
The actual activity was an experience. The whole point of the activity was to find and teach the friends of the members who came to the activity to eat tacos. It didn't really work out like that. The Sunday before the activity, we passed around a sign up sheet for relief society ladies to help us prepare 500 tacos. 15 ladies signed up. When I imagined what it was going to be like to cook 500 tacos with the help of 15 ladies, I kind of imagined it like that one scene in The Three Amigos. Who know? The sewing scene? ¡Andale Hermanas! ¡corta ¡corta! It was kind of like that. Dream come true. But, Elder Ruvalcaba and I were so busy in the kitchen, serving the people, keeping the chapel intact, and everything that we didn't really have time to talk to any of the nonmembers who came. The people also kind of behaved like savages too. hahah I was a little bothered because most of the people who came, came for the food, and then left before we could carry out the activity, many people told us that the tacos were gross, most of the people let their kids do whatever they wanted, and left the chapel in a complete disaster. I was kind of bothered and discouraged because the purpose of the activity, to find new people to teach kind of failed. I was feeling bothered and all until one of the young men came up to me and introduced me to his friend. His friend was totally nice and asked me if he could have a Book of Mormon. We still have not visited him. Elder Ruvalcaba and I ended up staying in the chapel until 11 at night cleaning everything for the next Sunday. It was so gross. hahaha The floor of gym was slick with the grease from the ground meat. But, it was all worth it because we met the young mans friend.
This week we had two baptisms. One of them was a kid named Carlos that we have been teaching for a while. He is 15 and a stud. He lives in this area that everyone calls the villa mormona because everyone there are so many members in this villa. hahah Whenever we go into this villa, everyone starts shouting "The Elders are here!" and all the people come out of their house to say hi to us. haha Carlos is great. The other baptism was of an 8 year old kid named Michael. He is from a family of 19 kids from the same Mom and same Dad. 19 kids. hahah The missionaries before us found this family a while ago and we have been teaching them ever since. The kids have gradually been getting baptized one by one. So far, 6 are baptized. Every member of the family who is big enough earns all of their own money collecting trash and recycling it. Right before the baptism, we couldn't find Michael. We started looking for him all over the place. Eventually, I ran outside and found him fist fighting another little kid. hahah He had the kid pinned to the ground and was punching him in the face. I separated them and asked him why they were fighting. He told me that the kid goes to his school and that they both like the same girl and were fighting for her. The other kid was 10. Oh boy, only in Argentina. I asked him if he still wanted to get baptized and he said yes. The baptism was really hurried, but still had a sweet spirit.
Lately, I have been reading the New Testament from start to end for the first time. It has been real good. I am especially enjoying the story of Paul/Saul. While I was reading about his conversion on the road to Damascus, I remembered the talk the President Uchtdorf once gave called "The Road to Damascus". The message was that sometimes, we get stuck on our path of discipleship because we are waiting for some amazing, supernatural experience to build our faith. Uchtdorf said that we will not come to know Christ through large bounding steps, but through small steps of faith. We will come to know Christ personally as we study and pray, piece by piece. That was kind of big for me. Sometimes I find myself waiting on the road to Damascus, waiting for the next big growth of my faith. It's not like that. One is converted more and more as he makes the little decisions everyday. I know it is true. I love you all and wish you the best. All is well. Life is good.